Dec Tony Huxley's Compost Corner

Christmas is coming and I'm preparing more space in the cupboard of  crap!

Xmas BucketIt's a point of limbo between the bottom of Christmas tree and bin, (or next year's village raffle donation!). The cupboard is overflowing with balls of rustic strings, and pruning scissors that couldn't cut their way out from the wrapping they came in. It's had gardening toiletries, gardening socks, decorative hand forks and trowels that wilt on contact with the soil. There are wooden dibbers, wooden pencils made from a selection of native twigs, and a wooden tool to make plant pots from newspaper! And what's with all the fancy plant labels? 'Luxury plastic' in portrait and landscape, copper, wood and even slate. But the winner of the Christmas day cringe must go to a hideous shed plaque with its 'amusing' gardening verse. If it wasn't a parental gift, it would have warmed itself with the Yuletide log many Xmas's ago.

Gardening, and receiving presents are two things I really enjoy, but when friends and family combine the two I find myself reaching for the Christmas spirit that comes in a 75cl bottle.

Something's do pass the tat filter. A year's membership of the Royal Horticultural Society is a terrific gift and Eco-friends would surely love a year's membership to Garden Organic. Both also have good online shops. Plants as presents are always a gamble but National Gardening Vouchers are a sure fire hit as all keen gardeners love to peruse their local, or not so local, nursery.

We always look forward to a friend's mini hamper of garden produce. The blackberry jelly and damson vodka were previous favourites. And if you insist on buying someone gardening equipment then less and quality always wins over tat in quantity: I still proudly prune with the Felco secateurs my sister bought me many years ago.

So don't forget; a Christmas gardening gift may not be for life, but at least pick something that can make it through to the New Year.

Bah humbug and see you again then!

Tony Huxley